Bases loaded. Two out. Ninth inning. On the road. With one swing, the game could go from close to out of reach. The hopes of an entire organization on one's shoulders.
If that sounds like the set-up to a dream sequnece, then pinch Cameron Maybin for he is experiencing it all. The Tigers' first round draft pick last year has gone through a draft which say him go in the first round, realized that he will be earning a paycheck doing what he loves, and with one swing in his first game back from the DL, hit a clutch grand slam.
It's all felt a little like a dream this year for the young Tiger prospect. "I just turned nineteen and I've always dreamed of playing pro ball. I get to play baseball every day and get payed for doing something I love. It's definitely fun." And it looks like he's having fun this year – racing all over center field, turning in spectacular play after spectacular play; coming through in the clutch at the plate, time and time again; and making it all look easy in the process.
Many thought that Maybin would take some time to adjust to professional ball since he came straight out of High School, but that has not been the case. If you ask Cameron, he knew that he would be fine: "I've said all along, it's still baseball, just at a higher level. Usually good players step up to the competition and that's what I've been trying to do. When you step up, you play at a higher level."
Mighty Cameron has stepped up to the plate so far this year, being slown down only by a short trip to the DL. He's currently batting .297, and though the power hasn't come yet (don't worry it will), his raw speed has. It takes an exceptional talent to turn a routine grounder to short into a close play and Maybin does it day in and day out. He already has four triples on the year, and has shown exceptional instincts on the base paths with twelve stolen bases against just one failed attempt so far.
The trip to the DL was due to an issue with his index finger, and Cameron shocked everyone with how sharp he was on his return. Yet, as with everything, he just shrugs it off, saying matter-of-factly he "just kept watching the other guys, keeing my mind focused on the game. I was trying to figure out people's tendencies. When you sit out, you've gotta find some edge so you don't start slow. I just tried to stay mentally sharp."
To many, Maybin may come off as a bit arrogant, but a little arrogance from someone with so much talent should be expected. For most individuals, with great expectations comes a great feeling of pressure to fulfill them. However, instead of pressure, the expectations serve a more motivational purpose for Maybin. He feels that since the organization believes in him so much, he knows that he has a reason to work hard every day and produce – and if that's how he feels, the sky is the limit.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Cameron's game is his approach at the plate. He explains it best, saying his mind is clear when he gets to the plate; "I just try to hit the ball hard. I mean you just can't think too much because that's when you start trying to over do everything. I just try to be as relaxed as I can be and let my ability take over." And it is that ability and talent that has Maybin quickly becoming a household name for Tigers fans. Cameron has only one thing to say to those watching his career. "I'll see you in Detroit." The only question is when.